President Trump’s pick for chief of staff, former South Carolina Congressman Mick Mulvaney, had made few waves. Yet what is not being publicized about the man who is the president’s choice to fill an incredibly important position is Mulvaney’s history of being an advocate for a cultist Islamist group, Jamaat ul-Fuqra.
Fuqra, which now goes by the name of Muslims of the Americas (MOA), has a history of criminal and terrorist activity. The group is led by Sheikh Gilani, a Pakistan-based radical cleric, and claims to have 22 “Islamic villages” in the U.S. One of these villages, Islamville, which was established in 1982, is located in South Carolina.
After the Paris terrorist attacks in November 2015, Mulvaney visited Islamville, saying that he was he was “looking forward to dispelling the rumors” about the village.
The congressman, who is currently the president’s budget director, spent 90 minutes in the village meeting with its leaders. After which he declared, “This is a group of law-abiding American citizens who are practicing their faith, and I saw no reason for anyone to see a threat.”
However, copious amount of documentation from government records and counter-terrorism officials, including the FBI, disagree. All this information was and is readily available. Clarion Project’s online site FuqraFiles.com, for example, provides complete documentation of the group’s extremism.
Islamville existed since the very beginning of Fuqra, when the group was systematically engaged in terrorism and organized crime. After carrying out a series of terrorist attacks in the 1980s and early 1990s, Fuqra changed its name and then made the claim that Fuqra never existed.
The State Department included Fuqra in its annual terrorism reports until 2000, describing Fuqra as an “Islamic sect that seeks to purify Islam through violence.” It was removed from the list due to its relative inactivity, but has been under investigation since.
An FBI document dated September 6, 2007 and obtained by the Clarion Project says Fuqra was involved in at least 10 murders, one disappearance, three firebombings, two explosive bombings and one attempted bombing.
It goes on to say, “the documented propensity for violence by this organization supports the belief the leadership of the MOA extols membership to pursue a policy of jihad or holy war against individuals or groups it considers enemies of Islam, which includes the U.S. Government.”
It further says “members of the MOA are encouraged to travel to Pakistan to receive religious and military/terrorist training from [Sheikh] Gillani,” referring to their radical leader.
It warns that MOA “possesses an infrastructure capable of planning and mounting terrorist campaigns overseas and within the U.S.”
In 2014, a dozen North American Muslim organizations asked the State Department to designate Fuqra as a foreign terrorist organization.
After Mulvaney’s visit in 2015 to Islamville, Clarion Project obtained documents from the Navy Criminal Investigative Service about the group that cast doubt on the former congressman’s claim that this group is “law-abiding.”
One 2003 investigative file mentions Islamville as part of the Fuqra network and states:
“All locations have individuals who are involved with criminal scams to raise money for MOA/JAF [Jamaat al-Fuqra]. The scams include, but are not limited to insurance fraud, mail fraud, credit card fraud, workman’s compensation fraud, illegal straw purchases of weapons, conversion of semi-automatic weapons to fully automatic, etc.
“Members of these groups send money via mail orders to Hancock, NY and Lahore, Pakistan to fund [redacted] the spiritual leader and founder of JAF.
“MOA members from all compounds also travel to Pakistan for both religious education as well as military style training and operational experience fighting in the Kashmir region of Pakistan.
“Their leader is openly extremist, preaching that Jews are ‘examples of human Satans,’ that the Pearl Harbor bombing and 9/11 attacks were Jewish conspiracies and ridiculing the U.S. for going to war with Hitler because ‘Hitler was not the enemy of America or the American people. There was mutual animosity between Hitler and the Jews. So, the American people paid a very heavy price for fighting someone else’s war.’ “
A videotape of Gilani from the late 1980s/early 1990s shows him boasting of having “one of the most advanced training courses in Islamic military warfare” and telling viewers to contact his group in South Carolina and other states to sign up.
After his 90-minute visit to Isalmville, Mulvaney called all of this governmental documentation of the group “rumors and hearsay.”
Either Mulvaney or his office did absolutely no fair-minded research or chose to ignore the facts, perhaps out of a fear that a vigilante would target the village. Either way, combating extremism doesn’t require legitimizing a bigoted and dangerous Islamist group.
A man with this history should not be the chief of staff for the president of the United States.